|Publication number||US4027783 A|
|Application number||US 05/608,454|
|Publication date||7 Jun 1977|
|Filing date||28 Aug 1975|
|Priority date||28 Aug 1975|
|Also published as||DE2636050A1|
|Publication number||05608454, 608454, US 4027783 A, US 4027783A, US-A-4027783, US4027783 A, US4027783A|
|Inventors||William C. Branch, Oliver W. Cole, Robert P. Kidd|
|Original Assignee||Booth, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (1), Referenced by (18), Classifications (9)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This invention relates to improvements in liquid dispensing apparatus, and more particularly to a tally system for a liquid measuring and dispensing apparatus.
In dispensing mixed liquid refreshments on vehicles such as airplanes, trains, buses and the like, automatic beverage dispensers such as those disclosed and claimed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,853,245 to William C. Branch and Jack J. Booth, issued Dec. 10, 1974, are used. Such dispensers utilize a positive displacement piston-cylinder system to insure proper portion control and to dispense liquids from a central supply.
The present invention involves the improvement of dispensing devices by providing an apparatus which for purposes of inventory and the elimination of pilferage can accurately tabulate and provide a record of the number of drinks dispensed. One problem presented in tabulation of the number of drinks dispensed is that the supply of liquid may become exhausted. In such case, the device may cycle without dispensing liquid. Any counting and recording apparatus which is responsive to either the initiation of a dispensing operation or cycling of the measuring portion of the dispenser cannot provide an accurate record of the number of actual quantities of liquids dispensed when a supply of liquid becomes exhausted.
To eliminate such problems, the present invention provides an improved sensor directly sensing the liquid flow. The sensor will not record a cycle when the dispenser is actuated and no liquid is present in the supply or when, for any other reason, no liquid flows through the discharge line.
In one embodiment, the discharge sensor comprises a chamber with fill and discharge ports. The discharge port is connected to the discharge dispensing line. A diaphragm extends across one end of the chamber, a piston contacts the diaphragm on the side opposite the ports and has a rod extending from the piston through an opening in the chamber. A follower engages the rod and a counter is connected to the follower. The counter is engaged by movement of the rod in response to deflection of the diaphragm. The respective fill and discharge ports of the chamber form orifices of a size with the discharge orifice smaller than the fill orifice. Thus, liquid will accumulate in the chamber when liquid flows through the discharge line which in turn will deflect the diaphragm and operate the counter. The size of the discharge and fill orifices are designed to allow air to flow through the discharge line without accumulating in the chamber. Thus, the flow of air through the line will not deflect the diaphragm a sufficient amount to operate the counter.
A printer is connected to the counter and is positioned adjacent to a plate movable by a cam surface whereby the reading on the printer may be imprinted on an instrument to provide a written record of the number of quantities of liquid dispensed by the device.
The novel features believed characteristic of the invention are set forth in the appended claims. The invention itself, however, as well as further objects and advantages thereof, will best be understood by reference to the following detailed description of an illustrative embodiment taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a dispenser incorporating the tabulator apparatus of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is an end elevation of the dispenser of FIG. 1 with the end cover removed;
FIG. 3 is a schematic view of a dispenser embodying the invention;
FIG. 4 is an isometric view of two sensor blocks;
FIG. 5 is a sectional view of a sensor block taken along lines 5--5 of FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a sectional view of a sensor block taken along lines 6--6 of FIG. 4;
FIG. 7 is the same section as FIG. 6 illustrating an actuated sensor position;
FIG. 8 is an isometric view of the sensor-tally mechanism;
FIG. 9 is an isometric view illustrating the tabulator and printer elements;
FIG. 10 is a longitudinal sectional view of the printer of FIG. 9;
FIG. 11 is a side view of the recording unit showing gas control; and
FIG. 12 is a rear view of the unit of FIG. 11 with the gas valve removed.
Referring now to FIG. 1, a liquid dispenser is in the form of a portable cart 10 completely self-contained so that it may be moved along a narrow aisle as desired. Cart 10 contains a removable module 10a that fits into the end of the cart immediately below the top work surface. A plurality of liquid storage receptacles and dispensing apparatus are provided in module 10a for use selectively to dispense preselected measured amounts of liquids from the receptacles as desired. In addition, according to one aspect of the present invention, the module 10a has a tabulator and printer which tabulates the number of drinks dispensed and prints a record thereof.
Cart 10 has a housing 12 mounted on a wheeled frame 14. Dispenser spout assembly 18 is provided in the upper portion thereof. Drains, ice receptacles, cup storage structure and the like (not shown) is provided in the upper and rear portions of cart 10.
In a preferred embodiment, a dispensing spout assembly 16 is mounted on the top of module 10a and constructed similar to the liquid selector valve disclosed and described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,853,245.
Dispensing spout assembly 18 may comprise a control unit of the type described in U.S. Pat. to Jack J. Booth, No. 3,703,186, issued Nov. 21, 1972 and is shown for completeness though operation thereof does not involve module 10a or assembly 16.
For purposes of description of the present invention, it is noted that assembly 16 has a plurality of control buttons 20 connected by conduits leading from beverage storage units in module 10a. As described in the above-mentioned U.S. Pat. No. 3,853,245, a pressurized gas supply tank (CO2 or Freon), syrup tanks and water tanks can be connected to the assembly 18 to dispense soft drinks. As described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,853,245, by pressing one of buttons 20, any of a plurality of selected liquors can be delivered by spout 24 along with mixers therefor.
Dispensing spout 18 as used to dispense carbonated liquids and the like does not require portion control. Dispensing spout 16 involved in the operation of the present invention is used for the purpose of dispensing alcoholic beverages. It requires portion control and accounting.
Each of the control buttons 20 on dispenser 16 is associated with a completely separate liquid source. Each button will select a different liquid. Thus, by depressing one of buttons 20, a selected liquor will be dispensed from one of several spouts in dispensing head 24.
Contained within module 10a are all the elements necessary for dispensing the various controlled liquids including dispensing valves, supply containers and other associated equipment to make the separate liquid dispensing systems.
As can be seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, module 10a has door 26 which can be opened to expose the interior thereof and components therein primarily associated with dispenser 16. Other doors are provided in housing 12 for servicing and filling the various components of the systems associated with dispenser 18. Door 26 is hinged along line 26a to the frame of module 10a with a suitable latch and handle 26b and a lock 26c.
A tally recorder 28 is located in an opening in the upper left-hand corner of door 26. It is provided with a handle 32 which an operator may mechanically actuate to record a total registered on a counter in the unit 28. A slot 30 is provided through which an operator may insert a tally slip and an identification key in order to print the identification and a count of the number of drinks disposed on the tally slip. In addition, the identification and tally data are printed on a tape retained in recorder 28. Tally recorder 28 is mounted independently of door 26 so that it cannot be removed except with door 26 open as will further be described in detail.
A portion of the system associated with dispenser 16 is shown in FIG. 2 as exposed when door 26 is open. Containers 34, FIG. 2, rest on the bottom of module 10a. Each container 34 contains a separate liquid to be dispensed from unit 16. A dispensing and metering unit or pump 36 is mounted on a bulkhead 38 extending across module 10a. Like metering units (shown dotted) are provided, in number equal the number of selections provided by buttons 20 to dispense from a like number of bottles 34.
Dispensing unit pumps 36 preferably are of the type illustrated and described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,853,245. Consistent with FIG. 3 of said patent, conduit 40 is connected to one of containers 34 whereby liquids may be removed from said containers by operation of pump 36. Conduit 42 is connected through a liquid sensor assembly 44 behind tally unit 28 to dispenser unit 16. Liquid from bottle 34 is transferred through pump 36 and sensor assembly 44 by a dispensing spout in unit 24.
It is to be understood that other types of valves could be used in place of pump 36. For purposes of this application, it is only important that each pump 36 be of a positive displacement type.
The metering system is schematically illustrated in FIG. 3. Metering pump 36 comprises a piston 36a normally forced downward by a spring 36b. Piston 36a is in liquid tight contact with the walls of a cylinder 36c. Movement of the piston 36a downward and with the force of spring 36b causes liquid be sucked, by way of line 40, from container 34. The liquid passes through inlet channel 36d. The amount of liquid depends upon the active volume of the cylinder 36c as determined by the setting of an adjustable collar 36x. A set of valves in the lower end 36e of the unit 36 are actuated under the control of pressure from a gas container. Line 36f (shown dotted) leads to an inlet in the bottom 36e from a valve unit 20a associated with the button 20. Valve unit 20a is connected by way of an inlet line 20b from the pressurized gas source. When button 20 is momentarily depressed, the pressure in line 36f causes the piston to start to move upward. This serves to permit pressurized gas from line 117 to elevate piston 36a driving fluid therefrom through a check valve 36g in an outlet channel 36h.
In accordance with the present invention, the outlet channel 36h is connected by way of a tube 36k (shown dotted) which leads to one chamber of a multi chamber liquid flow sensor unit 44. More particularly, line 36k is connected to an inlet channel 44a. Channel 44a leads to a chamber 44b in which there is located a piston 44c with the stem of the piston extending upwardly from the chamber 44b through a passage 44d so that the upper end 44e protrudes above the upper surface of the unit 44. The unit 44 is comprised of two plates. The upper plate 44f has the chamber 44b formed therein. The chamber 44b is closed by a rubber diaphragm 44h which is clamped to plate 44f by the lower plate 44g.
Thus, as the piston 36a moves upwardly forcing liquid through line 36k, diaphragm 44h is distorted so that the liquid may then pass laterally to the outlet 44j. The outlet 44j is then connected by way of a tube 44k (shown dotted) which leads to a dispensing nozzle in a nozzle block 24, FIG. 1.
In accordance with the present invention, the inlet channel 44a is larger than the outlet channel 44j so that there will be a differential pressure built up within chamber 44b to distort the diaphragm 44h and move piston 44c in opposition to a spring 44p. The upper end 44e thereof is then caused to contact a tally actuator as will later be described.
In operation, the containers 34 normally are loaded into the compartment behind door 12 and suitably connected through the pumps 36 to dispensing spout unit 16. A counter in tally unit 28 would then be set to its desired initial condition and the unit placed in a positioning rack for alignment with the opening in door 26. The door is then closed and locked so that the compartment behind the door 26 would not be accessible to operating personnel and would be accessible only to service and accounting personnel.
In a preferred embodiment, the input orifice was 0.125 diameter while the discharge orifice was 0.062 diameter.
Referring again to FIG. 3, the difference between sizes of the orifices 82 and 84 will prevent liquid from leaving the space under diaphragm 44h as fast as it enters forcing diaphragm 44h to deflect upward to provide space to accumulate liquid. Air displaced from the chamber 44b above diaphragm 44h will vent through port 44m. Once liquid accumulated under diaphragm 44h has been discharged through conduit 44k, the diaphragm will return to the position shown in FIG. 3 and piston 44c will follow it down under the force of spring 44p.
Ports 44a and 44j are sized such that when container 34 is empty and only air is pumped into the system by the action of the piston 36a, the flow of air through the conduit 36d will not cause the diaphragm to be substantially deflected upward. This is due to the fact that air flowing through the smaller discharge port has low viscosity and does not accumulate under diaphragm 44h. Thus when a supply bottle is exhausted, no liquid is dispensed by the apparatus even though pump 36 is cycled. Diaphragm 44h will not cause rod 44e to move upward.
Further details of sensor assembly 44 are illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5. Sensor assembly 44 has six channels. A companion assembly also has six channels. Bolts 52 connect the upper and lower plates 44f and 44g together and compress the diaphragm 44h therebetween.
Upper plate 44f has six separate cylindrical chambers 70 therein. Each of these chambers 70 has an axially extending opening which extends through plate 44f. Rods such as rod 44e each carry a piston and extend through plate 44f.
The lower plate 44g is provided with six pairs of discharge and input ports. Thus, the two block shaped sensors 44 and 50 provide for a total of twelve channels thus accommodating the selection of any of twelve different beverages. The view shown in FIG. 3 of the assembly 44 is taken along line 6--6 of FIG. 4. A sectional view of the entire sensor block, as taken along line 5--5 of FIG. 4, is shown in FIG. 5.
As shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, the rod 44e (along with like rods in the sensor assembly 44) is positioned to actuate a pivoted plate 60. Plate 60 is pivoted on a rod 61 and is moved from a rest position shown in FIG. 6 to a tally position shown in FIG. 7, the movement being in the direction of arrow 62 as diaphragm 44h is forced up into chamber 44b, moving piston 44c upward. Plate 60 carries an actuating rod 63 extending along the edge thereof opposite pivot rod 61. Rod 63 serves to actuate a mechanical counter with print wheels manufactured and sold by Veeder Root, Inc. of Hartford, Conn. and identified as Series 1122, as will be shown in connection with FIG. 8.
In FIG. 8, it will be noted that rod 61 which pivots plate 60 is journaled in a pair of brackets, one of which, rear bracket 64, is shown extending from beneath a sensor mounting plate 65. The front end of the rod 61 is similarly journaled. Plate 60 normally slopes downward with the under surface thereof resting on the upper ends of the rods such as the rod 44e.
In a similar manner, a second plate 66 is pivotally mounted on a rod 67 journaled in front bracket 68 and rear bracket 69. Plate 66 slopes downward and rests on the top of rods extending upward from the sensor assembly 50. An acutating rod 70 is secured to the free edge of the plate 66 and extends beyond the front end of assemblies 44 and 50. Thus, any time a button is actuated in the set 20, FIG. 1, and as a consequence thereof liquid is passed through any chamber in either of assemblies 44 or 50, then plate 60 or plate 66 will be driven upwardly, moving rod 63 or rod 70 upwardly.
Rods 63 and 70 coact with tally unit 28 in order to increment counters mounted therein. More particularly, as shown in FIG. 8, rods 63 and 70 extend beneath an incrementing lever 71 of a counter 72 mounted adjacent the rear of the face plate of the tally unit 28.
The sensor assembly suspended from plate 65 is mounted in housing 12 by sliding the plate with the edges 65a and 65b thereof nesting in slideway in structure depending from the top of module 10a. Similarly, the tally unit 28 is provided with brackets 28a and 28b which have outwardly directed horizontal flanges which pass immediately outside the front bracket such as bracket 68 and abut the front ends of the edge strips 65a and 65b to be supported with the sensor assemblies 44 and 50.
The tally unit 28 may be provided with two counters one of which has a printer associated with it and the other observable through a slot in the face plate of tally unit 28. Only one such counter, the printer counter, will here be described.
Slot 30 is provided for the insertion of a card 30a so that the counter total can be printed on the card at the beginning of the days operation and at the end of a days operation. A key 30b is provided for registering in a key slot 30c so that personnel identification data thereon may be printed on the same card.
Further details of the tally unit are shown in FIGS. 9-12.
Referring to FIG. 9, tally unit 28 is partially illustrated looking upward and forward from the lower right rear zone of the device. Tally unit 28 includes the support brackets 28b and 28c previously described. Central to the unit is counter 28d in which number wheels 28g are mounted on a shaft 28e. Counter 28d is mounted on a bracket 28f which is secured to the face plate of tally unit 28. An actuating arm 71 extends rearwardly generally perpendicular to the face plate of tally unit 28. The forward extending portion 71a of arm 71 is secured to the actuating shaft of counter 28d so that each time either plate 60 or plate 66 of FIG. 8 is actuated, counter 28d will be incremented. Number wheels 28g are seen at the bottom of the counter unit 28e facing downward.
Counter 28d is positioned relative to a roller 28h such that the total registered by counter 28 may be printed on a paper tape 28i which is fed from supply roll 28j and which is taken up on a takeup roll 28k. Rolls 28j and 28k have been omitted from FIG. 8. Tape 28i passes downward from roll 28j over a guide roller 28m and thence horizontally across the face of a flat anvil 28n which is part of bracket 28f. The tape 28i then passes underneath the number wheels 28g over a roller 28p and then upward to the takeup roll 28k.
Roller 28h together with a roller 28q are mounted on a shaft 28r. Handle 32, FIGS. 1 and 8, recessed in a slot in the face plate of tally unit 28, is connected by a rod 28s to shaft 28r. When handle 32 is grasped by an operator and pulled forward, rollers 28h and 28q move forward toward the face plate of tally unit 28 causing the total represented by the position of the number wheels to be printed on tape 28i. At the same time the total is printed on the card inserted through slot 30.
Key 30b represents an ID card for the operator having raised alphanumeric symbols thereon. When key 30b is inserted through slot 30c, any information embossed in the lower face thereof will also be printed on tape 28i and upon a tally card inserted through slot 30 as the roller 28q moves along plate 28n.
It will be noted that the end of the shaft 28r carries a roller 28t which travels in a groove 28u on the inside face of a guide plate 28v. A companion guide plate 28w is similarly mounted and is similarly grooved to receive a roller (not shown) on the end of shaft 28r opposite the end carrying roller 28t. As the shaft 28r is pulled forward through forces applied through rod 28s, the rollers 28t move upwardly and forward towards the face plate of tally unit 28a. The course of the groove 28u forces rollers 28h and 28q against the number wheels 28g and key 30b, respectively. As rod 28s is pulled forward, the roller 28t is moved forward and then downward under the force of a spring 28x. Spring 28x is anchored at one end to the shaft 28r and at the other end to a pivoted rod 28y. A leaf spring 28z is secured along the bottom of the lower course of groove 28u and has an upwardly deflected portion so that as the shaft 28r is pushed backwards away from the face plate of tally unit 28 to its normal arrest position, the roller 28t is forced upwardly to home position shown in FIG. 9.
In the sectional view of FIG. 10, the system is shown in solid lines with the key 30b and tally sheet 30a inserted into the appropriate slots. The dotted circle 28q' indicates another location of the roller 28q in the course of movement of the shaft 28r along groove 28u.
Referring now to FIG. 2, the face plate of tally unit 28 has been shown partially cut away to show angle strips 100 and 101 mounted to the frame of module 10a to form a slideway. Edge strip 65b of plate 65, FIG. 8, slides into the way thus formed and is followed by bracket 28b, FIGS. 8 and 9, to provide the support and mounting within module 10a for the sensor assembly and the tally unit generally in the positional relationship illustrated in FIG. 8.
Referring now to FIGS. 11 and 12, further details of the recording unit 28 are illustrated. As shown in FIG. 11, a cam wheel 110 is mounted on a shaft 110c and has two steps 110a and 110b on an otherwise circular periphery. A gear is integral with and located on the back of the cam wheel 110. Such gear meshes with a gear on a display wheel 111. Wheel 111 is mounted on shaft 112 and has a wide periphery a portion of which may be viewed through a window 113 in the face plate 28.
As will be understood in connection with FIG. 12, the cam wheel 110 and the display wheel 111 will be rotated 90° upon execution of each printing operation effected by pulling handle 32, FIG. 10, forward to print and then pushing it backwards to return the print wheel 28q to its home position.
The periphery of the cam wheel 110 faces an actuating piston 114 of a gas valve 115. Valve 115 is mounted on a suitable bracket to be fixed in relation to the back of recording unit 28. Pressurized gas such as Freon is supplied by way of an inlet pipe 116 for flow by way of line 117 to operating parts of the system when valve 115 is open. When valve 115 is closed, the pressurized gas is removed from all piping joints and fixtures in the system downstream of valve 115.
The cam wheel 110 operates in conjunction with valve 115 so that peculation may be prevented. More particularly, at the beginning of a flight module 12 is placed in cart 10, FIG. 1. The system is readied for operation with valve 115 closed. Operating personnel then insert tally card 30a and ID key 30b, FIG. 8, into the respective slots and then execute a printing operation. As the print wheel is returned home, the printing operation is completed and the cam wheel 110 is rotated 90°, thereby opening valve 115. During flight, each drink dispensed is registered on the counter unit by actuation of the arm 71. With flight complete, the operator again inserts the tally card 30a and the ID key 30b and executes a printing operation at the close of which the cam wheel 110 is rotated 90° closing valve 115. Thus, the attendant has the beginning count and the end count registered on the card 30a. The same information is also recorded on the tape 28i. With the valve 115 open, the legend ON, FIG. 8, appears in window 113. This legend is printed on the surface of the gear wheel 111 at two locations 180° apart. Similarly, the legend OFF is printed at locations 180° apart and respectively 90° from the location of the ON legend.
Referring to FIG. 12, the actuation of the cam wheel 110 is carried out by mounting a star wheel 120 on shaft 110c. The star wheel has four arms on it one of which always extends up into the path of shaft 28r. As shaft 28r is pushed to the rear of the recording unit, it encounters one of the arms on the star wheel 120 rotating shaft 110c and cam wheel 110 90°.
Provision is made also to advance the tape 28i from the supply roll 28j to the takeup roll 28k. This is accomplished by an arm 121 which is adapted to be moved upwards in response to rotation of an arm 122 mounted on a shaft 123. An arm 124 is mounted on the inboard end of shaft 123 and is rotated 90° each time the shaft 28r is returned to its home position. The rotational motion of shaft 123 is then transmitted by way of crank arm 122 to arm 121 to elevate the same. After the shaft 28r passes arm 124, the bar 121 drops back to its home position.
From the foregoing, it will be seen that with the module 10a locked in cart 10 with the valve 115 initially closed by personnel preparing module 10a for operation, no drinks can be dispensed from module 10a until a flight attendant has completed a printing operation, i.e., until valve 115 has been opened in the course of completion of a printing operation as above described. Thereafter, during the course of a flight, drinks may be dispensed, each being registered on the counter 28d. At the end of the flight, a second printing operation is executed in the course of which valve 115 is again closed so that no further dispensing operations can be conducted, except that there be another printing operation. All data relating to all drinks dispensed are thus recorded on tape 28i as well as on the card inserted by the attendant.
Having described the invention in connection with certain specific embodiments thereof, it is to be understood that further modifications may now suggest themselves to those skilled in the art and it is intended to cover such modifications as fall within the scope of the appended claims.
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|U.S. Classification||222/26, 222/129.3, 222/135, 222/30, 235/94.00R|
|Cooperative Classification||B67D1/0007, B67D2210/00091|